Despite promises not to lay off any turnpike workers, nothing in Kasich’s Transportation Budget Bill formally commits to that promise.
Instead, there appear to be many changes to existing law that would speed the adoption of electronic tolling on the Turnpike and hasten staff reductions for the turnpike’s hundreds of full and part-time toll collectors.
Kasich’s proposed transportation budget allows the turnpike to “Fix, and revise from time to time, and charge and collect tolls by any method approved by the commission, including, but not limited to, manual methods or through electronic technology accepted within the tolling industry.”
It also allows the turnpike to “Adopt rules for the issuance of citations either by a policing authority or through administrative means to individuals or corporations that evade the payment of tolls established for the use of any turnpike project.”
Together these two changes appear to allow the Turnpike to remove toll booths altogether, instead replacing turnpike employees (who happen to be Teamsters union members) with automated toll enforcement systems that either accept EZ Pass or take a photo of a driver’s license plate and send a bill (or citation) to the turnpike user.
Also worth mentioning: the Turnpike is now selling EZ passes at rest stops.